United StatesNew Hampshire

Sununu acts on legislation addressing unemployment benefits, voting, energy, child welfare

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announces a series of emergency orders March 17, 2020, in Concord, N.H., in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Chris Sununu has recently signed and vetoed several pieces of legislation, including rejection of a measure that would have encroached on federal unemployment distributions in New Hampshire.

House Bill 1166 contained several problems that caused three different state agencies – the Department of Employment Security, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Insurance – to raise strong concerns, Sununu said in a news release.

“Ultimately, this legislation would undermine the state’s effort to recover from the pandemic and would significantly harm employers by subjecting them to higher unemployment taxes if this bill were to become law,” Sununu said in explaining his veto. “To be frank, this a terribly written and poorly thought out bill that puts New Hampshire citizens at risk by violating federal requirements. Our job is to open doors of opportunity in times of need, not cut off federal support when families are struggling.”

Also vetoed was Senate Bill 122, which would have changed energy efficiency funding allocations.

“I am disappointed that the legislature is jeopardizing the longstanding Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) compromise yet again by trying to eliminate ratepayer rebates,” Sununu said in his veto message. “This has become an annual exercise of attempting to strip away rebates for residential ratepayers, which is especially problematic during this pandemic.”

Among the legislation signed into law was House Bill 1266, which makes temporary modifications to absentee voting processes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sununu also approved Senate Bill 166, adding net energy metering to customers of municipal and county aggregators in New Hampshire.

House Bill 1162, which addresses a number of child advocacy and juvenile justice issues, also was signed.

“This bill reaffirms our commitment and builds upon the progress we have made in reforming and enhancing the state’s child welfare system,” Sununu said in a news release.

Also signed was House Bill 1111, which lets municipalities decide what areas need broadband internet access and allows for establishing communications districts to help develop broadband infrastructure.

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